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July 24th, 2013 WW Staff | Featured Stories
 

Best of Portland 2013: Best Bites, Sips and Puffs

bop_2013(bestteahouse)Kevin von Behren behind the bar at his backyard tea house. - IMAGE: Ronit Fahl

BEST MENU BRAG

The beige paper menus at Dockside Saloon & Restaurant (2047 NW Front Ave., 241-6433, docksidesaloon.com) are as faded and peeling as the longshoremen drinking shots in the shanty bar within spitting distance of the Fremont Bridge. But a keen seafarer’s eye can still make out the legend printed behind the varieties of omelets: “Our real claim to fame was the finding of the Tonya Harding garbage that was to be the downfall of the Olympic skater.”

In an account taking up its full back page, the menu takes patrons back to the heady days of 1994, when local figure skater Harding was suspected of ordering the kneecapping of Lillehammer Winter Olympics rival Nancy Kerrigan. Harding’s ex-husband Jeff Gillooly made the miscalculation of dropping written evidence of the conspiracy into the Dockside dumpster—which was closely monitored by owner Kathy Peterson, who turned the trash over to the FBI. The menu offers this as a cautionary tale about not driving an extra five miles to the Metro garbage transfer station, and concludes: “We joke that we’re best known for our garbage, but we think our food is pretty darned good.” AARON MESH.


BEST BACKYARD TEAHOUSE

Arati von Behren is a lucid dreamer. The plans for Fly Awake Tea Garden (3514 NE 13th Ave., 867-8905, flyawakepdx.com) originated in a dream she had a few years back. “If you sit here for a while, you’ll notice lots of stuff going on,” says von Behren’s husband, Kevin, leaning against his wooden tea bar equipped with wheels and propane hookup. “She dreamed the whole thing.”

The “whole thing” is a propane stove, chocolate truffles, bananas, a wooden tea bar, an Audubon Society certified platinum garden (mostly ferns and herbs) and a picnic table. Oolong tea is served in 6-ounce cups ($3 a pot). The tea bar is stationed in front of Kevin von Behren’s former glass-blowing studio and his current garage, and the teas come from high-altitude regions in Argentina, China and India. Fly Awake’s slogan, “This is a dream,” appears on a drawing of a limp hand. “Check yourself as you leave,” Kevin says, “you might feel a bit...” He raises his arms and dangles his hands above his head—as if this were the best way to describe his backyard. JOE DONOVAN.


BEST SUMMER COCKTAIL

The Iceberg at Bunk Bar.
IMAGE: Ronit Fahl
Column inches and blog posts galore have been expended touting the virtues of the sandwich menu at Bunk Bar (1028 SE Water Ave., 894-9708, bunkbar.com). Yet, when it comes to what is potentially the restaurant’s greatest creation, the Iceberg, the world has been strangely silent. Perhaps it is the simple ingredients of the recipe that have thrown people: a pint of Rainier topped with a splash of frozen margarita. It’s a brilliant conceit, with the sharp sweetness of the latter canceling out the bite of the former, and conversely, the swell of the beer tamping down the margarita’s enamel-threatening tang. When the real heat of the summer hits Portland, I can think of no better refresher than this marvel. Moderation is key, not only due to its price ($6) but also because the Iceberg’s alcohol sneaks up on you fast. ROBERT HAM.


BEST MARIJUANA STRAIN

Sour Diesel, you citrusy temptress. You’re crisp satin between my thumb and forefinger, and the way your lemongrass aroma wafts across my tongue is...well, it’s nice, but it’s still smoke. This sativa-heavy strain, which I get through Clear Mind Medical in Vancouver (clearmindmedical.com) for fully certified medical purposes, swept the East Coast in the early naughts, which isn’t surprising since it provides an alert, creative float of a high. Mainly what’s great is you can carry on in social situations just as easily (and maybe more easily) as ever. There may be better sativa subtypes out there, but I’ve yet to find them. Just think: Soon you’ll have only to cross the river to buy it from a store. ZAP ROWSDOWER.

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